One of southeast Queensland's best-known national parks has been renamed in a move by the state government to make it reflective of its cultural and historical significance.

The Courier-Mail can reveal Moreton Island National Park will now officially be known as Gheebulum Coonungai (Moreton Island) National Park - which means 'lightning's playground'.

Camooweal Caves National Park, north of Mount Isa, has also been renamed and will now be called Wiliyan-ngurru National Park.

Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said the name change at the north Queensland park reflected the First Nations term for the rough-tailed goanna.

Ms Scanlon said the updated names for both parks were part of an agreement through the native title process, and came after negotiations with the traditional owners.

Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon
Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon

She said the Quandamooka people had requested that Moreton Island remain in brackets for a period of time until the public was used to the park's new name - which was given final approval last Thursday.

Ngugi elder Uncle Bob Anderson said the new name for the island's national park acknowledged the long pre-existing history of the area and its importance to the Quandamooka people.

"Gheebelum and Coonungai are the two prominent sand hills situated in the national park which tell the creation of life story, the Legend of the Lightnings Playground," he said.

"The legend tells and perpetuates the spiritual significance of the area.

"The story was passed down to me through the oral tradition by my Uncle Paul Ambrose Tripcony who was born on Moongalba in 1901."

Ms Scanlon said the move went beyond just a change in name.

"The language connects to place, story and people, as it goes deeper than just the lightning story," the Minister said of the renaming of Moreton Island National Park.

Quandamooka Ngugi Elder Uncle Bob Anderson
Quandamooka Ngugi Elder Uncle Bob Anderson

"That's what makes this change over so important."

The name change only applies to the national park, and not the island.

Ms Scanlon said the new names for both parks would be introduced gradually while the parks' signage is updated, saying they reflected their "unique and beautiful cultural and historical significance".

Under new regulations, the Moreton Island National Park will also increase in size by about 19ha.

According to explanatory notes for the regulation, the Environment Department consulted with the Native Title holder's for Camooweal Caves National Park to determine suitable First Nation's names.

"Additionally, public consultation was conducted for the renaming of Camooweal Caves National Park from 26 August 2020 to 21 October 2020," it says.

"Feedback received was generally positive."

Originally published as Island national park's new name revealed


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